African Americans are more prone to develop kidney failure in comparison with all other races or groups of individuals. They are even up to 3- or 4-times more prone to develop kidney failure than their white counterparts. The reason for this is still not clear. Factors which play an important role are: hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, family history as well the accessibility to healthcare. Both obesity and overweight are also contributing factors towards African Americans’ higher rate to develop diabetes.
The kidneys perform important functions in your body, including:
· Eliminating additional water from the body
· Removing waste substances
· Assist to create red blood cells
· Render assistance to control the blood pressure
When you develop a kidney disorder, the kidneys are damaged and are unable to function effectively. Kidney damage can be caused by:
· A disorder such as diabetes
· A physical injury
· High blood pressure
· Another disorder
When you develop kidney disease, it will be required that you have to adhere to a treatment plan, which can include:
· Using medication
· Follow an exercise regime
· Restrict your consumption of salt
· Limited intake of some foods
· Keep diabetes under control
Diagnosing and the treatment of kidney disease during an early stage can slow down its advance or halt the kidney disorder to get worse. However, when kidney disease worsens, it can result in kidney failure. In the case of kidney failure you will require either kidney dialysis or a transplant.
Who develop kidney disease?
· Any individual can develop kidney disease, despite their age
· Some people, like African Americans are more prone to get kidney disease.
· Hereditary factors (family background)
· People suffering from hypertension (high blood pressure)
· People of 60-years and above are more vulnerable
· The higher your risk factors, the more prone you will be to develop kidney disease
How the accessibility to healthcare plays a part
· The results of a recent study show that a high number of African Americans are not aware of the fact that they have kidney disorder until the disease developed to the later stages.
· If not diagnosed early, treatment can’t be administered to slow down or stop kidney damage from worsening.
· Result is that African Americans have an elevated risk of 3 to 4 times to experience kidney failure compared to white Americans.
· This problem is particularly associated with kidney disease.
· Results of above-mentioned study revealed that the majority of African Americans who suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or with high levels of cholesterol are aware of it.
African Americans: Why this elevated risk to get kidney disease?
· They suffer more from high blood pressure and diabetes compared to other Americans
· Suffering from high blood pressure can result in kidney disorder as well as kidney failure
· Genetics or a family history can be involved.
· Heart & blood-vessel disorder play an important role amidst African Americans
· According to the National Health Institute, certain African Americans have a high risk-gene at birth.
· Individuals in this group, born with this high risk-gene are two times more prone to develop kidney failure compared to other African Americans born without this gene or their white counterparts.
What you should do
· Not every African American will develop kidney disorder
· Not everyone suffering from heart disease, is older, has high blood pressure, diabetes or a hereditary history will get kidney disease.
· Get tested for kidney disorder in case you have some of the above-mentioned risk factors.
Kidney Disease: Tests
· Two basic tests available for kidney disease:
1. Urine test:
· Straightforward test
· Determining whether your urine contains protein
· Although your body requires protein, it should be in your bloodstream and not in your urine.
· Protein found in the urine can mean that the kidneys don’t filter the blood effectively.
· Albuminuria is the term used for protein in the urine.
· Can be a pointer of early kidney disease
2. GFR blood test
· Straightforward blood test for glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
· GFR-count reveals how effectively your kidneys are functioning
· GFR is evaluated for a waste substance called creatinine.
· Creatinine count together with your race, gender and age is used to mathematically determine your GFR
3. Other tests
· Get tested for heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes to become aware if you have one of the above-mentioned conditions.
· Make lifestyle changes including: following a healthy diet, get regular exercise, quit smoking, lose weight if required, and limit your alcohol intake. By living a healthy lifestyle you might:
Avoid developing kidney disease
Can slow down kidney disease
Stop the advancement of kidney disease from worsening